Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

All images

©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

More leaps for Walter

My followers are really getting happy watching the progress Walter is making. Who doesn't like a Rocky story where the Grumpiest Old Cat slowly-over a year-takes tiny steps, along with steps back, to reach a level of trust with another creature, in this case, me.

Today I was able to pet Walter's back and tail. If you watch both videos you will see him push his face into me-a true sign of marking and trust. When I come in the room, he watches me as usual, but it is more of a "Are you coming over here soon to pet me?" look.

I'm just so proud of his willingness to wait it out, and mine too I guess. So, don't give up on any creature. It took Paco the donkey almost two years to settle.

I so wanted to put my face into his today, but refrained. I don't do that with all the cats, they each have their own boundaries, but I just so wanted to hold him. Maybe in time, maybe not.

Meanwhile, I talk to Lemon every day and am not pushing him, but will see if we get further than we have, maybe we won't, and that is fine, it might jut be what his comfort level is and he doesn't really want some raggedy lady singing Puff the Magic Dragon to him.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Everyone's wild about Harry

I took Harry out for another Llama Window Walk at the Cove and it was a beautiful day and we saw beautiful smiles. Harry is so magnificent. Imagine sitting all cooped up in a room, you have not been outside for over a month, have not been able to see your spouse or anyone from the outside world, and there out your window comes a big white llama.

The staff can't even come outside with me but they go room to room inside and then I just follow outside. Photo opportunities are limited since the rooms have screens and very hard to see in, but Harry sees them, and they can clearly see him. The gathering room allows two people at a time to sit in the big clear windows and that is special for everyone.

One of the residents, Sunny, is always jovial and laughs and laughs no matter what animal I bring. He started yelling though the window,

"I love you Harry! Harrrry!"

And then I yelled back, "Harry loves Sunny!" And we yelled "Harry loves Sunny!"

I try to give them encouraging words, to those that are coherent, that we will all be sitting together again....someday. Most of these people have been through wars and chaos of life and they are not push overs. But it has to be depressing for them not being able to see their families since no visitors are allowed. The staff too needs Harry love and they really appreciate it.

When I was leaving a staff person saw me with Harry and asked if I'd walk over to the other part of the complex to another elder home where people have their own apartments but need assistance. I agreed, and I knew someone had recently moved there. He is someone we love, and has come to our farm event twice, once when he was 101 and once when he was 102! And there he was up in his window, smiling ear to ear, and waving. It was so good to see him. I wrote his daughter and shared the photos and she said he had called her to tell her about the Harry visit and he was so excited. His grandchildren too saw it online and were so happy.

Harry is turning into quite the love magnet.

So I am making buttons and will give them out to the residence.

In the meantime, it is a very eerie time for all of us-everywhere all over the world. Most people I talk to say the same thing-they are out of sorts, discombobulated and sad. I had a good cry the other day and a friend said she too cried. I think the wear and tear of hearing so many people in suffering mode, and scared and fearful is taking its toll on all of us. I am a lucky one-I can be outside all the time with my farm and land and animals, as can Martyn. But I am an empath and I have to work to put on my pink bubble suit to try not to take it all on myself. But I am distracted and sad for the pain of the world right now. Many of us are going though so much turmoil and uncertainty. So many have lost their only income and have no backup or savings.

I encourage everyone to keep giving to non profits if you are able. I can't say I'm freaked out-yet-but I am concerned what it will mean for donations and I'm sure other non profits are worried too. We are okay, the feed store seems to be supplied ok [except the people hoarding cat litter] and we have hay until harvest. It will be okay as I watch our fund carefully.

So walking around with my llama...it is so good for so many, including me, and Harry. It is also a wonderful way for me and Harry to bond, he really likes it, and he trusts me which is wonderful, does all I ask of him even as he faces new sounds and sights. It's a big confidence booster for both of us in our mutual relationship.

Harry loves me, and I love him, and everyone is wild about Harry.

Harry visits with our 102 year old friend outside his apartment

One of our favorite elders, 102 and he never stopped waving or smiling

Thursday, March 26, 2020

When an old grumpy cat releases almost one year later

It was May of 2019 when The Grumpiest Old Men came to Apifera after they had lived a semi ferel life before being turned over tot he shelter after the person caring for them had to move. My contact at the shelter, along with other volunteers, had worked to try to tender them up so they could be adopted, but she knew that these two were problematic and she asked if I might take them on. We both knew that I was pretty much the end of the line for them.

On arrival, they were so tense their pupils were like flying saucers, they stuck together in a pile, they hissed even if I was 20 feet away...I wasn't sure I had done the right thing, but they did not bother the other elders and I knew if they became a threat to anyone, my contact would take them back. For those first weeks, maybe months, if I entered the room they would fly off whereever they were sitting and hide. I was very careful how I moved around them. One of them was much more ferel than the other, and at the shelter they found this to be true too. They had touched the other one, briefly.

I named them The Grumpiest Old Men, but then also named them Walter and Lemon. For almost a year I've been documenting my progress with Walter [on Instagram]. I also began singing to him. At some point, I took a back scratcher and began using that to try to desensitize him. Over the weeks that followed, even though he always hissed in the beginning, he became calmer with me. People watched over the months as his glare became softer, the hisses became less angry and scared, and one day, I touched him-by keeping the backscratcher at his face, and using my other hand to gently and quickly touch him.

About two weeks ago, I made huge steps with Walter. I was able to pet him without using the aide of the back scratcher. It was marvelous feeling, and his eyes were softer. Days later, [see video above] I came to him, and he was sitting upright, and allowed me to pet him at length, he even looked at me and -well, he was a different cat. He also became more confidant and began sleeping in more open spots n the room.

When I come in now, I pet him, and there is no hissing. I am still very careful to not make sudden movements. But I really see his eyes tell me he is liking this thing called touch.

My dream would be to pick him up, but I'm just so happy for him, that he released the fear. What a long road and challenge for him, and me, but I had all the time in the world for him and was in no rush. One must never be in a rush when working with animals or they will sense it and not listen or trust. I never work with treats either, ever, with any animal-I want them to be present with me when they are open to that, not because they smell a treat. Using treats with goats, dogs, llamas or horses-in my expereince-creates a pushy animal, and a pushy animal creates a dangerous situation.

I have not pushed Lemon. He has made some advances-like he stays out in the room when I arrive rather than retreating to a hidden corner. He will tolerate my moving about the room, sometimes even if I'm five feet away. His eyes are not as ferel and he sleeps with the other cats well. My goal is not to push him. I'm not even sure touch is the goal, I just want him to feel more relaxed if I am closer to him.

I'm very proud of Walter...and I think he actually likes me.

This video below was a month ago when I still got a hiss, and I still used the backscratcher for protection.

Monday, March 23, 2020

All I can give you is running ponies

I am as drained as anyone reading this as we all face such uncertain times. It's is a strange, unsettling time. Lots of fear out there causing lots of unhealthy behaviors–like hoarding food.

Every day I think, what can I write today that might offer some comfort?

And then I just think, show them the running ponies.

I have not come up with any words and my well is dry right now. I did just birth the White Dog book [should be arriving in April] and there is always a tiredness after the book goes to the printer-a good tired. I am lucky to live on the farm around Nature and so many different creatures. I worked a lot with my animals this weekend, including the ponies and llamas. I think the best I can do right now is just share them, through video and photos...perhaps it will help someone smiles and feel less isolated or scared or worried.

Martyn and I are okay, and again we are lucky to have jobs that allow us to be outside. Life is pretty much like it always is, except for the overall seriousness of the situation, and the madness at the grocery store. And I can't get into the elder home to do my animal visits with Bear and Opie, that is very upsetting. I hope to do more LLama Window Walks with Harry.

I am on my way into my studio. Perhaps something will come out and I can share it with you later.

Bur for now, all I can give is running ponies.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Great Goat Toilet Paper Scheme

“How many rolls did you get?” Ollie asked Opie as I entered the barn.

“Five,” said Opie.

Earnest the pig wandered by.

“There is no reason for you to be hoarding toilet paper. You do not require supplemental supplies to poop or piddle, toilet paper is for humans because they are bathroom challenged,” said Earnest.

At this point, I had to step into the conversation.

“Where are you getting this toilet paper?” I asked. “I can’t even find a roll at the store this week.”

“We made a deal with the dog down the street, he brings it to us from the house and we give him a bucket of chicken scratch per roll,” said Ollie.

“But you don’t need toilet paper,” I said.

“I know,” said Ollie, “I can poop and walk and talk all at the same time without it.”

“Ollie heard on the news that if you don’t have at least one roll of toilet paper per day the virus finds out and kills you,” said Henneth the blind chicken.

“Where did you hear the news?” I asked.

“The llama gets WiFi off his ears,” said Earnest.

“You are the victims of misinformation. The virus is not prone to detecting who has or doesn’t have toilet paper. Secondly, you do not need toilet paper. Thirdly, the virus infects humans not little goats or llamas or...” I continued….

“...or bees? Do the bees get the virus?” asked Opie, very concerned.

“I do not believe so,” I assured him.

“March right back to that dog and give the toilet paper back,” I said.

“We did not steal, it was a gift of the dog!” said Ollie, quite upset.

Just then one of the Secret Sisters, the hens of the farm, came rushing out, breathless from excitement.

“I would like a roll of toilet paper! My undergarments often get white cling ons, it is a real problem and so unsightly!”

“It’s true,” said Earnest, “Very undignified.”

“OK, I’ll allow one roll of toilet paper to be left in the barn. But it has to last a long time,” I said.
How many rolls have you taken from that dog?” I asked.

“Sixteen,” said Ollie.

“It’s double ply too,” said Opie.

Opie was named after the little boy in Andy Griffith. As I began to speak, I channeled Andy,

“Now, Opie, you need to do the right thing. People need that toilet paper,” and I walked back to the house.

The next morning, I heard a rukus in the front yard by the road–usually off limits to the animals. A line of cars had pulled in and Opie and Ollie were tossing rolls of toilet paper into their cars.

Soon after, I heard the familiar little hoof steps at the door, and then a knock. There before me was
Opie and he handed me a bucket of money.

“I made $450.00 on the toilet paper,” he said. And he ran off to be with Ollie.

I’ll have to talk to him about price gouging.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In which a little dog named Bear loses an old friend, but he's watching

On Monday I got a phone message.

"This is Marge, and I wanted you to know that Bear's friend, John, died on Saturday."

Marge is John's wife of sixty years. John was one of the people we visited weekly at Cove's Edge, and he loved Bear. The feeling was mutual. My followers came to call it "The John & Bear Show" when I'd post photos of the two of them. When I first visited Cove's Edge with Opie, I had seen John in his wheelchair, napping. The next visit, I think I saw him sitting in his wheelchair, outside his room, awake, and most likely waiting for his wife. Marge visited John twice a day, daily. That is what we call devotion and love.

When I decided to get a Lab puppy, I told the breeder I only wanted a chocolate male. As the due date of the litter neared, I wrote her again and told her I was excited, but nervous there might not be a chocolate male. She calmly said,

"These things always seem to work out."

And then, finally, the first pup came out, and she messaged me immediately, with a picture-it was a chocolate male. The rest of the litter was delivered...and Bear was the only chocolate male. I decided that was a sign, and an indicator that Bear was ready to work and come be my therapy dog, and looking back, I believe that more than ever.

When I first brought Bear into the retirement home, he had only been with me a few days, he was calm and a huge hit of course. But as I walked Bear in his carriage down the hall, there was John in his wheelchair, and this time his wife Marge was pushing him. I had never seen John smile in past visits, but when he saw Bear, he had a smile ear to ear. His wife told me how he had had a lab once. I do not know what John's medical issues were, it is not my business, but he could not speak. He was 89. But when he saw Bear, he lit up.

Bear was small enough that he could sit on John's lap. I had a harness on Bear, and a leash, and John had these strong, large hands, and he'd grasp that leash and not let go. As Bear got a bit older, John helped me train him to not use his teeth to nibble, with a sharp little tap on his snout. When other people gathered around John and Bear, Marge would tell him to let others be with the puppy and she whispered to me that she didn't want John hogging Bear. But I didn't care, Bear was met to be with John at this time. I always ended up taking so many photos of the two of them, it was impossible not too, and I'm glad I did.

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, a stomach virus swept through the facility, so I was not allowed to visit that week. The next week, still shut down, was when the C. virus really began to become a reality. I feared I would not get back there for some time due to the lock down. But I thought of John, and others we visit. I worried he might think we gave up on him and the others. I was anxious to get back. I was able to suggest I bring the llama over and they loved the idea of our window walk outside. It was pouring rain, and there we were walking around with a llama, me and Martyn, my volunteer Polly, and my two care managers who were so great to do it [they needed to get out too]. But I did not see John, and I wished I had made a point to ask for him. I think I was focused on the llama, and by the time we got to that side of the building it was all I could do to keep my glasses from getting wet.

In the three weeks we have been away from the visits due to the lockdown, Bear has grown so much. he would not need his little red wagon anymore, and he could have sat right next to John and he could have petted him. When I found out John died, I was so sad, but so very touched Marge thought to call me directly before I heard. She has no idea how much that meant to me! I chose not to call her back that day, I was afraid I might cry and didn't want to cause pain, so I wrote her a long letter. I will reach out soon.

I told Bear about John too. What I noticed was, he was very calm when I told him. Bear is entering his pre-teen years [he is almost 5 months old!], he is still a very good pup and still very calm and listens [pretty well!] but he is more energized than he was. But on the day I told him, I sat down, and made him sit in front of me, and I said,

"John died."

We sat quietly together like that for just moments.

If Bear had come along a month later, we might not have had this relationship with John. I truly believe his timing was in the stars so he could meet John, and give him some pup love, some smiles, perhaps visceral memories of his past. His past was full! His obituary shows what a full life he and Marge had, all their work together, his music, their fish business, and their camp in New Hampshire where they hiked and skied. John hiked the Presidential Range and worked for the National Forest Service maintaining trails. And he played the sousaphone in many community bands.

Anytime you meet someone, an elder, remember that-they had a long life of 'stuff', the same way you are doing stuff and making a life, they did too. They are not cardboard figures. You've read about me and Martyn doing stuff since we were young pups of 40... and now we are 60...and in a flash we will be like Marge and John...and so will you.

I have to tell you, and I told his wife in my letter, in my work with the animals and elders, there are always one or two people that make a stronger impact on me, that I internally resonate with and find myself gravitating too. I don't question it. But I often know what's coming.

So a little dog name Bear must have heard my intentions back when he was floating in his mother's womb. I like to think he knew, he knew he had to get out as soon as he could, time was of the essence to get here, so he could do what he sensed had to be done immediately...to get to this person named John. Bear was incredibly bonded and trusting of me from day one, more than any dog I've had. He still his, he still looks to me. And the fact he trusted me to go into that home at such a young age after only being with me 4 days says to me he knew what he had to do. As long as I was nearby, he knew he was there to be Bear. And then he met John.

The obituary came out Tuesday, and I read every word, learning more about John's life. And then I choked up, when I saw this: Per John’s wishes, there will be no funeral, and burial will be private. Memorial donations may be made to Apifera Farm, 315 Waldoboro Road, Bremen, ME 04551, whose animal visits to Cove’s Edge in Damariscotta brought tremendous joy to John and the other residents.

It is not about the possible donations, it is the fact Marge recognized how much joy Bear brought, and that our work is appreciated.

Perhaps Marge will appreciate this, but I have found myself saying to Bear, if he is not behaving quite up to snuff,

"Bear, be good, John is watching, he knows."

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Llama window walks of love for the elders...and it helped me too

This resident loves our visits, but she had a huge smile when she saw Harry!
While I realize my llama can't cure a virus, I do know from experience he is a magnet for smiles, and smiles promote joy and healing. The anxiety I was feeling in the past days were gone while I was walking around in the rain with my llama. I know Harry helped me, and I know he helped others. Such a good rainy day we had! Imagine what we'll do together in the sunshine!

The elders at our local residence we visit have been on lock down for a couple weeks, confined to their rooms due to a stomach flu, but then the virus took over in the outside world and they are still on lockdown. I am confidant the swift action of the residence staff will prove wise and that our elder friends are going to be okay. I have been so missing my visits with Bear and Opie, and seeing the faces of people I have grown attached to. And I also hate thinking they might think I have abandoned them [some have memory issues, but many don't]. After the third week of no visits, I also realized how important the visits are for me–they give me one more sense of purpose as a caregiver of hope.

So I emailed and asked it I could bring Harry the llama over and we could walk by the windows so residents could see him. They loved the idea, as did I. I figured Harry was the right choice, he is white so easier to see, and taller and more mature than Arlo. Yesterday we knew it was going to rain, but it was POURING! They emailed and felt badly I would have to come in such nasty weather, but Martyn was home too, and I was determined to go–I was really looking forward to it.

So we got there and my two contacts at the home came out ready for the weather [I had on three layers it was raining so hard and I must say, I was quite the sight]. So did Polly one of my volunteers. And there we were, a bunch of nuts walking around the facility building in the down pour. It was so fun!

Harry was incredible. I mean, I was just so proud. I have never had Harry off the farm, nor did he go off farm at his birth home. When Harry arrived, he was very well behaved, but a bit shy with touch-I knew that would take time. He was very well handled by his first and only owner, so that was a God send since he is intact. I took him for a walk on the road the day before, to see how he'd do around cars-he was great, ad really relied on me as a leader. When we got to the residence yesterday, I just was so impressed with how he paid attention to me, and did everything I asked of him. It was sort of like an obstacle course [a great training method] because he had to navigate between objects, shrubs, jump over puddles or walk through them, and he did it all with confdence. The sound of all the gutter water was new to him but he did fine. And what I really loved is he truly was engaged with the people on the other side of the window. Photos were impossible due to the screened windows but I got a few.

The staff also got so much joy out of it. They are working so hard right now, they always do, but with room bound residents, meals are served in each room, there is so much to do.

I can't wait to go back and plan to do it weekly with Harry. I love working with him. In time maybe Arlo too, or the ponies, we will see.

The virus situation has moved so fast. Maine finally got their first case, someone in the military that came home, and there is a sense of...anxiety. In fact...we have every reason to be anxious. But I will continue to do my animal work and try to bring some relief in a small way to the elders.

I also underestimated that this would bring so many people watching it unfold-my followers-so much joy. I go about my work because I love it, and feel compelled to do what I do. I don't do it for attention and rarely partake in conversations in the comments sections of my pages-it is too much energy and it is like a big cocktail party and I am not a cocktail banter person. But I did feel proud that Harry and I gave joy to so many with our little llama drive by walk.

This woman followed Harry in her wheelchair to different windows

The staff need llama love therapy too!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

I'm pretty excited about this

Awhile ago I mentioned on our Apifera page online that I was looking into resurrecting the Misfit Book Mobile idea-something to drive around in with an animal or two, and sell my books. It is a sweet idea but we talked about it over the coming days and decided it was not a functional idea, and the mobile was going to cost at least $7000+ and then it would have to maintained. It's already hard enough to get the trailer hooked up and take animals out, it seemed like one more thing to take energy without much of return.

So, I'm going back to my original idea when we first arrived...I put it off because I wanted to settle here first, and I'm glad I did. We are going to make a hut in the front garden area, accessible from the road, so people can stop and buy books, and meet an animal or two that I will have with me in the hut, or in a paddock by the hut. I want to have a way to sell my books, and even have some art on the wall. It's going to be a simple little shed that I'm having built and then Martyn can make adjustments down the road. Martyn has so many tasks right now–finishing the barn loft before hay season, finishing the new vegetable beds, another hut for the ponies–so I didn't want to overwhelm him. He will have enough to do to help me build the pad and he will also build gardens around it since he wants to. The front yard area/gardens are sort of his project, I stay out of his decisions pretty much, except for my hollyhock bed.

I am NOT raising money for this, it will come out of my funds, not the non profits, even though I see it as an extension to our therapy work. I can see doing a puppet show in it too, something I've been wanting to try somehow, or maybe have private one-on-one animal healing appoitments with someone. Martyn thinks I should dress Opie up in a turban and give him a Magic 8 ball.

So stay tuned. We hope to have it in by May sometime. I have no idea yet about when it will be open or a schedule as I need to think about that.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Birthday...which means something might die, and did

Her little body was just like a beautiful figurine
Tomorrow is my birthday. I've told the story of my birth many times, so won't share the long version. But the day I was born, my father's mother died, and it is how I got her name, Katherine. My mother also shared the family story over and over as I grew up-the part of the story that she herself almost bled to death birthing me. She wondered why I never had children [I never had children for many reasons, but I can say I could never watch human birth scenes in movies, still don't].

So it dawned on me as I was lying in bed thinking about my birthday that it makes perfect sense my birthday is entwined with death somehow. Back out West at the old farm, Martyn and I always seemed to encounter death during our two week birthday celebration–it was lambing season so something was always happening. Last year, we were in the thick of trying to save Birdie. I don't mean to sound glib, but it just seems death comes at my birthday.

So this morning when I fed the chickens, there she was, my smallest and sweet little The Golden Child, sitting up on a perch, dead. She had rested her head upwards, leaning into the wall, so her stiff body was like a beautiful little statue when I found her. Chosen One came along in a magical way. We had adopted a Bantie rooster, a Seabright and they are about 1#, very small. My hens are normal sized. I had a Buff Orpington that went broody on me [this means she was sitting on eggs to get them to hatch] and had a secret spot for a while. By the time I discovered it, I let her continue to set. And one day, I heard a tiny sound, and under the hen was this sweet little chick. I named it The Golden Child, and hoped it would be a hen, and it was.

She was of course much smaller than the hens, and while the broody hen protected her until she grew up, in time, she was always sort of on her own in the flock, and she liked to perch away from them. They weren't mean, but I always felt for her.

But she was one of the best layers, and her egg was about 1/3 of the size of other eggs. It was such an intimate gift to see her little egg nestled amongst the larger eggs. They were bite size, and Martyn liked to pickle them. I ate the last one today and I will miss her little eggs.

I was sad to find her dead. She was only two. Who knows what takes a chicken. As an old farmer told me years ago when we first got hens, "Sometimes they just die." And it is true.

So there, I've had my death now for my birthday. And we can move on again. And, let's not forget it is also Moose's birthday tomorrow and there was a time two weeks ago I wasn't sure if he'd be with us to celebrate, so I'm grateful for that. He is a different goat than before the polio struck, still blind, and just not quite the old Moose, but he's eating, and getting outside, so I'm happy about that. I hope he can live on now without it happening again.

I was thinking too that I'm basically on the last quarter of my life, if I live to 80. That's okay with me. I don't really want to live longer than that. When you read a really long book, and you really are enjoying it, relishing it...and you get to a point where you are coming to the end, and then, you finsih the last page–you don't mourn it, you just think what a great read it was. I think of life like that I guess.

Her sweet little egg

Saturday, March 07, 2020

The new book is at the printer-Pre Order!

This was by far the most intense book I've written and I think it is my favorite of the seven [I love all of them though]. It was a lot more work as it was more type heavy, and was 228 pages instead of my usual 120 page range. I worked so hard on it and just hope I did the story and creature justice. I feel I did. I also now enter the terrified stage of waiting to see the finished book. There is always something wrong even if it is not noticed by anyone but me. You just hope as a one person band that any errors are not glaring.

The book tells the story of how White Dog journeyed to our farm and is told in his voice [I just translate for him]. Along the way he guided by a squirrel, Crow and a rabbit. It is about living in Nature and speaking with Nature, but also listening to Nature, and to our Inside Speak which many have lost, and never knew they once had.

Full of art and photos of White Dog's world including his beloved second coat–The Snow.

Thank you to so many that have pre-ordered, and to those of you that gave extra support. It is a labor of love to make these books but I'm so grateful I've built this life and I can do it. The book should be ready to ship out mid May but by pre-ordering you are helping this indie author/press keep her debt down to pay off the printing which is substantial for an off set printed color book.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

It's The Wind, not the wind

I have always felt that Earth, and Nature and all they encompass, is like a big community of individual characters that work together, sometimes push against each other–but they are all entwined, as are we.

I refer to many elements of Nature as proper nouns–The Wind, The Wood, and The Big Water–because I'm very aware of them as independent spirits. I can't tell them what to do. I love hearing and seeing them, but they have much greater power than me and I respect that. But they, and we, are all entwined. You toss a log in a stream and it not only has consequences to the impact area, but everything that is connected to that water is impacted. Our environmental situation is dire. I wish schools would continue teaching science, but I wish too they would teach more Native American and Indiginous traditions and cultures. The Indiginous are so much more in tune with Nature, and sadly many are losing their Nature because of greed and exploitation and climate issues.

All of these characters seem magnified in Maine. In Oregon, The Wind was beautiful and of course could wreak havoc, just as it does anywhere, but The Wind here comes off the sea and it has an entirely different sound than when it came off the coastal range. The Wood here is more mysterious, for me anyway, as it feels like it holds spirits more firmly. The back Wood is much more uninviting than the side Wood. I don't go to the back Wood, except maybe once a year to make sure nobody is dumping on it like they did years ago before our time [sadly, a common practice, like a midden of trash].

Having a view of The Big Water is not something I even knew we had when we bought the house [we bought it without physically visiting]. It is actually a cove that we see - but sometimes I look at it and just get very happy, "Oh, that's right, we live by the sea."

We have lots of gusty days here, which is part of sea living. I think it is beautiful and physically satisfying to live here because of its location and history–it is a very visceral place for me. There of course is sort of a romance to living in Maine propagated by writers and artists over the centuries, I suppose. It is actually a lot like Oregon in some ways, renagade and independent. But it is very different in the people, I feel. I feel like there is a stronger work ethic here. If you don't work hard here in summer and fall, you will freeze to death come November, it's that simple.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Captain Sparkle enters boot camp

I started working with Captain Sparkle this weekend now that weather is [trying] to warm up. The new addition is big enough for ground work within reason. My goal is simply to 1] have fun 2] let him have fun 3] and build confidence and trust between us. He is a good little chap. His biggest hang up so far is using his mouth occasionally to 'speak' with his lips, i.e. a slight grab of my sleeve. The people at Horses with Hope worked on that too and I know they helped a lot. Sparkle had some training at some point, you can tell. I want to do agility type things with him. I think he'll enjoy it, as I could see he did yesterday with the step. And he really enjoyed the praise. My goal is to work with him and then see how he does with therapy work. The Teapot can partake in this too but I thought I'd focus on Sparkle right now. Then I'll put Arlo into agility work too to help with his training.

I sure do love the little guy. I read somewhere recently that an animal diagnosed with Cushings usually only lives another five years. This was so upsetting to read. And I hope it is just a gross generalization. I'll ask my vet next time she is here. But I love Captain and want him here for a long time even though he is youngish elder.